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Uniqlo Wants to Help You Pick Out a T-Shirt By Reading Your Mind 

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Have a closet full of clothes, but can’t decide what to wear? Clothing retailer Uniqlo thinks they can help with that. A single outpost of the store in Sydney, Australia, is testing out a new method for marketing fashion to consumers. Instead of asking customers what they're interested in, the store tries to read their minds. It’s a gimmicky approach, but one they claim is backed up by neuroscience.

UMood, as Uniqlo is calling their proprietary clothing “experience,” is a bit like an interactive personality test that doesn’t require the user to do anything more than to think. The would-be clothing buyer sits down in front of a large screen, which flashes a series of videos and still images for their consideration: cherry blossoms, cats and dogs, storm clouds, a man dancing, a woman reading—each supposedly corresponding to ten moods ranging from “dandy” to “stormy.” Rather than having the viewer give conscious feedback, UMood measures brain activity for each image along five metrics: interest, concentration, stress, drowsiness, and general enjoyment. These measurements get matched to the corresponding moods, and then to particular t-shirt designs previously determined by survey to be the right fit for the mood in question.

If all this alleged science sounds a bit suspect, Uniqlo is quick to come to its own defense. Consumer neuroscientist Phil Harris, also an honorary professor at the University of Melbourne, was present at UMood’s big reveal to explain the rather impressive technology on display. The particular brain-computer-interface (BCI) headset is from tech company Neurosky, and it is coupled with custom algorithms from a Japanese company called Dentsu Science Jam. Electroencephalography data is used to “understan[d] how closely a customer is resonating with a given mood and then us[e] that reading to pick the ideal t-shirt for a customer at that time.”

Reactions to the technology were mixed. Australian comedian Ben Low, on hand as the demonstration's guinea pig, was pegged as feeling “calm,” a mood for which UMood suggested a green graphic t-shirt with a design of the three vending machine aliens from Toy Story. “I did feel like I was in a green mood,” Law admitted. He says he’d wear the shirt. Mashable's Ariel Bogle and CNET's Nic Healey, however, were more ambivalent to their options: a Merchant & Mills logo shirt and a cartoon Iron Man tee, respectively.

With over 600 t-shirt designs, Uniqlo clearly believes that there must be the perfect t-shirt for every person somewhere within their massive, color-coded stores. While that may be true for casual Fridays, UMood isn’t quite equipped to help out a weary professional pick through their business wardrobe on a Monday morning, nor can it choose the right pair of pants to go with that t-shirt—at least, not yet.

[h/t Mashable]

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Custom-Design the Ugly Christmas Sweater of Your Dreams (or Nightmares)
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For those of you aspiring to be the worst dressed person at your family's holiday dinner, UglyChristmasSweater.com sells—you guessed it—ugly Christmas sweaters to seasonal revelers possessing a sense of irony. But the Michigan-based online retailer has elevated kitsch to new heights by offering a create-your-own-sweater tool on its website.

Simply visit the site's homepage, and click on the Sweater Customizer link. There, you'll be provided with a basic sweater template, which you can decorate with festive snowflakes, reindeer, and other designs in five different colors. If you're feeling really creative, you can even upload photos, logos, hand-drawn pictures, and/or text. After you approve and purchase a mock-up of the final design, you can purchase the final result (prices start at under $70). But you'd better act quickly: due to high demand, orders will take about two weeks plus shipping time to arrive.

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Pantone Names 'Ultra Violet' 2018's Color of the Year
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Pantone

Time to retire your green apparel inspired by 2017’s color of the year: The color experts at Pantone have chosen a new shade to represent 2018. As The New York Times reports, trend followers can expect to see Ultra Violet popping up on runways in coming months.

The decision was made after Pantone scattered a team around the world to search current street styles, high fashion, art, and popular travel destinations for the up-and-coming “it” color. The brand describes the winner, PANTONE 18-3838, as “a dramatically provocative and thoughtful purple shade.”

Fashion plays a large part in the selection of the color of the year, but Pantone also considers the broader socio-political atmosphere. Some may see Ultra Violet as a nod to our stormy political climate, but the company’s announcement cast it in a more optimistic light.

“Complex and contemplative, Ultra Violet suggests the mysteries of the cosmos, the intrigue of what lies ahead, and the discoveries beyond where we are now,” it reads. “The vast and limitless night sky is symbolic of what is possible and continues to inspire the desire to pursue a world beyond our own.”

The color is associated with some of music’s greatest icons, like David Bowie, Jimi Hendrix, and Prince. The architect Frank Lloyd Wright also had a special attachment to the color and wore it when he was in need of creative inspiration. When it’s not sparking artistic thinking, purple is sometimes used to promote mindfulness in mediation spaces. So if you’re feeling stressed about whatever the new year holds, stare at the hue above for a few seconds and see if it doesn’t calm you down.

[h/t The New York Times]

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